We again return to Torino, Italy for our Espresso in Torino and Piemonte series — this time for a review of Baratti & Milano, one of the top 18 cafés in all Italy as reviewed by the 2008 Bar d’Italia del Gambero Rosso (rated 3 tazzine and 3 chicchi).
Founded by Ferdinando Baratti and Edoardo Milano in 1858 as a cafeteria, it moved to its present café location in 1875 with the construction of the impressively classic Galleria Subalpina, which runs along its east side. To this day, while the café has windows facing the inside of the gallery, its entrance is exclusively from the arcades of Piazza Castello — a point known as Portici della Fiera.
After several expansions and world wars, it has survived as a classical Torinese grand café with an emphasis on its production of confections. Today it may be known more for its chocolate (particularly Gianduiotti and Cremini, today made near the town of Bra) and old-school opulence, but they also roast their own beans for their coffee. Local SF specialty Italian grocer, A.G. Ferrari, carries many of their confections.
Baratti & Milano is a classic grand café with plenty of space, chandeliers, mirrors, dark wood, and old elegance. And perhaps almost as classic, the Galleria Subalpina was used for part of an infamous Austin Mini (today: Mini Cooper) car chase scene in the original 1969 production of The Italian Job. (IMO, it ran laps around Hollywood’s 2003 remake.)
Here’s the movie trailer:
Yes, Torino, the Mini, and — at least to me — Baratti & Milano were immortalized in a Michael Caine classic (though what movie hasn’t he been in?) with perhaps the greatest car chase scene in British cinema history and a hip/cheesy lounge cat Quincy Jones soundtrack. How can you go wrong? Put it on your Netflix list.
Upon entering inside, past the counter of sweets, they use a red, four-group La Cimbali to pull espresso shots with a thinner, even, medium-to-dark brown crema. The shot is pulled a touch short, giving it a darker pungent flavor with a woody edge. Served in Schönhuber Franchi Baratti & Milano logo cups. Yet only a mere €0.90.
Read the updated review of Baratti & Milano.
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